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Thread: Municipal courts

  1. #1
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    I had Municipal court last week over a traffic violation.

    My question is, when you plead not guilty do you have topay the court costs.

    I am paraphrasing what was said.

    When I asked the judge about the costs of pleading not guilty he basically said it would cost me 150 in court costs to plead not guilty and if found guilty would have to pay the fine on top of that.

    I asked him, so basically I have to buy my right to a trial to be found innocent?

    He basically agreed with what I said.

    I pointed out as best I could from memory that justice should be received freely and should not need to be purchased. (WI Constitution, ART. 1, Section 9)

    His response was basically, to bad, that is the way it is,

    I told him that I wasn't going to plead anything and would just pay the fine. I then asked him how to get a transcript of the proceedingswith him admitting that the court was denying my civil rights.

    He said that wont be necessary since I was going to pay the fine.

    I said I needed a transcript for when I file a suet against the court for violating my civil rights by making me purchase them instead of being freely given.

    At that point our he said that it was just a misunderstanding and that the $150 was only necessary in DWI cases.

    He later said the $150 was only needed to be paid if I was found guilty and wanted appeal it in a higher court with a jury. So I plead not guilty and am waiting for the date for the trial to be set.

    Also after pleading not guilty he used the phrase civil rights several times but the way he emphasized it he seemed to find it amusing like he was making fun of me for bring it up.

    What I am wondering is was it really a misunderstanding, or is that how it is normally done and when I pushed back he realized that the stuff would hit the fan if I didn't get what I wanted?


  2. #2
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    First, definite Kudos to you for standing your ground and questioning the court.

    Second, I can't answer your question directly, but my experience is you can never trust what authority tells you. I've had a lawyer give me wrong information before about a case, and corrected himself when I pointed out the law.

    Never, ever, trust (solely) the advice of the experts. (Includes doctors, lawyers, mechanics, ME, etc)

  3. #3
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    After he said it was all just a miss understanding I felt stupid for bringing up a civil rights suit. But afterwards, I started to think about it and I think he was ether lying to me or decided to wave the fees to prevent a lawsuit.

    Although I have never been in a court case like this before so maybe it was just a miss understanding.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, even if it was a misunderstanding, him finding humor in your expressing your desire for your rights annoys me. My immediate thought was that it was not unlike a woman taking her car to a mechanic and him telling her in a condescending way "listen here little lady, you don't understand this stuff, just sign her and we'll get you set up real good!"

    No, he had no business being a smart-ass...

    edit: ugh, I read this at home on lunch, ate, returned to work, and it still annoys me-

  5. #5
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    Hillman,
    here is a little something you should learn:

    In many municipal courts, the person named as thejudge usually has no legal training, and if they dohappen to have a degree in law, by them being a judge usually means they were a terrible lawyer and could not make a living that way.

    So you need to realize what you are dealing with, to understand how to deal with them properly.

    A few decades ago. Iwas found "not guilty" in courtfor a motor vehicle offense. but in the very next breath the judge stated that I owed $$$ court costs.

    I argued that If he found me not guilty of what theofficer has accused me of, why am I being asked to pay for the officers mistake on top of me already being inconvenienced at the time of the stop, needing to make multiple appearances at the court, missing work to do so, and now I am being told to pay a fee for being innocent!
    I got a confused look from the guy, a few whispers between him and the clerk, and him stating "Court Cost's Waived.. MrNutczak,Have a nice evening"

    Ya wanna know what I was ticketed for??
    The cop told the judge he "heard me speeding"! And that is why I got a speedingticket that evening.
    During my cross exam of the cop, I asked the officer if he could produce the latest paperwork from an independent lab to verify his ears were within proper specifications, the date the tests were performed, what tests were performed to verify this, and how often he self-verifies the calibration of his ears, and if he had his ear calibrationlogbook with him in court. The look on the prosecutors face was priceless. The moron refused to have a pre-trial meeting with me, so I embarrassed the crap out of him.
    Each answer from the cop was a sheepish "no"( it could barely be heard over the laughterfrom the gallery)

    Know thy enemy, find their weakness, and exploit the hell out of it!

  6. #6
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    Nutczak wrote:
    Know thy enemy, find their weakness, and exploit the hell out of it!
    +1000


  7. #7
    McX
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    And don't forget Citizen, the court accepts Visa, Mastercharge, and American Express, Personal checks welcome, or you can sign up for our easy payment plan!

  8. #8
    McX
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    Uh,oh.......Sorry guys, it's a bit off topic, but I feel a rant coming on here: Some of you know of the contractor that ripped our shop off for in excess of $16,000. Then fled to avoid prosecution. When he was caught, he gave a false name (what a surprise huh?), and was charged on that too. His "jury trial" is coming up in less than 2 weeks on his theft from me. I scanned the court system, and found he pled guilty to giving false information to the Police, AND WAS GIVEN AN EASY PAYMENT PLAN for his fine! Democracy works baby!

  9. #9
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    Well, it looks like they got me. Even though they waved the150 doller fees they now say they need to supena witinesses and it will cost me 50 dollers each. It agen seem like they are makeing me pay for my right to a trial.

    Since I am can't pay that much I will just pay the original fine.

    I am also concidering filing a suit for violioation of my rights. Does anyone know whare to start on that? I would have to do it myself, no lawyer($$$$).

  10. #10
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    What right is associated with a traffic citation, please?

  11. #11
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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    What right is associated with a traffic citation, please?
    (WI Constitution, ART. 1, Section 9)

    It is not the treaffic citation it is that I have to buy my right to plead not guiltyto something that I was accused of doing. The way it is set up you can plead not guilty but it will cost hunderds of dollers to do it and unless you are 100% sure you will get a not guilty verdict you are taking a large chance of loosing a lot of money. In my case if the law is read strictly as written I have a good argument but without knowing how the judge reads it I am better off just paying the fine rather than taking the chance loosing and then paying the fine and and court costs on top of that.



  12. #12
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    Hillmann wrote:
    In my case if the law is read strictly as written I have a good argument but without knowing how the judge reads it I am better off just paying the fine rather than taking the chance loosing and then paying the fine and and court costs on top of that.

    This is what they are hoping you'll do. There are many loopholes to traffic citations (especially speeding...). They count on the fact that 90% are just going to pay the fine and be done with it.

    If it's a speeding ticket look into the CFR/MUTCD codes as well as the calibration and training records as mentioned earlier.

    Of course there is the "how much is YOUR time worth to fight it?"...

  13. #13
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    Do you mean this? Of course you do.

    Remedy for wrongs. SECTION 9. Every person is entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries, or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property, or character; he ought to obtain justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay, conformably to the laws. The constitutional guaranty of a remedy for injuries to person and property does not give a constitutional right to sue the state in tort.

    There is no right of a citizen to hold the sovereign substantively liable for torts, and the state, being immune from suit without its consent, may define the conditions under which it will permit actions against itself. Cords v. State, 62 Wis. 2d 42, 214 N.W.2d 405.
    Commenting on 'ought', it is a prescriptive like "I wish." The Wikipedia article on "Is-ought problem" may be of value.

    I believe I heard the economist Thomas Sowell say words to the effect of, "Normative and prescriptive statements characterized by would, should and could do not have truth values, cannot be falsified and are thus not scientific."

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